Issue 2

Prologue

The screen goes blank, and the Nord that was Dr. Swords stands up from his chair. "I was able to find you, but not the other Nords. Why? I don't know the answer. I'm hoping you could find out. I have complete control over Eon Force, so why don't I use them? I knew each of you personally. I'm just quirky that way. You get that way at my age." For that last sentence he turned back into the more comfortable visage of Dr. Swords. "So, help me out for old times' sake, or help me out and I'll help you out. What do you say?"

“Okay, here’s what I’ve figured out so far. But first, a bit of history. And it’s going to be a lot of history. In mid-2001, a 60 car train derailment occurred in Baltimore City. It could have been one of the worst disasters in Baltimore history, had not one Nord with the power of incredible speed shown up to help save the day.

At first dubbed ‘Baltimore’s Champion’, this Nord, who was very passionate, flamboyant, and a bit overbearing, became known as the ‘Cavalier’.

Cavalier more or less stayed around Baltimore, becoming more a local hero than an international one like Champion. My feeling is – and I think now that I have some evidence to prove it – that Cavalier is still in Baltimore. But not for long.

The Port of Baltimore is situated closer to every major Midwestern market than any other seaport on the East Coast. More than 40 million tons of cargo flow through that port in one year. And that’s just the cargo that’s accounted for.

The Port’s 300th anniversary is this year, so I’m sure that they wouldn’t want people to think about this, but Baltimore is also the center of a huge amount of smuggling efforts. People, drugs, and other illicit things come in. Cars, weapons, and… other things go out.

The FBI recently made a huge bust on several of the smuggling operations in the city. That’s where I got most of my information. That was several weeks ago, however, so the chaos in the criminal underground has subsided quite a bit. My sources tell me that a man named John Jacobs is poised to take over the majority of the smuggling operations through the Baltimore docks.

Basically any criminal organization that wants to smuggle goods through the Port of Baltimore has to go through him and his criminal organization. But I’m not interested in John Jacobs. That’s the FBI’s purview. I’m interested in one of the criminal organizations trying to get through him: the ‘Ndrangheta (en-drang-ay-ta).

The ‘Ndrangheta were a small, rural, Mafia-like organization in Italy… until recently. Now they’ve come to eclipse Cosa Nostra in terms of wealth, power, and ruthlessness.

Members are referred to as ‘ndraghestas, or ‘ndrinus. The organizations is divided into clans based on family relationships. Each clan is called an ‘ndrina. The members blend easily into their surroundings, because they don’t flaunt their wealth, but go under the guise of humility.

I believe that, for some reason, and in some way I don’t yet know, the ‘Ndrangheta have Cavalier. I believe they plan to smuggle him out of Baltimore, and soon. Within the next week.”

At that moment, you notice Techno in the background fervently trying to get Dr. Swords’ attention. “Doctorsir!Doctorsir!” he cries, “Youguysshouldseethis.” And the young man turns one of the many screens in the windowless room.

On the screen appears a short, round, middle aged man in a suit, tie, and greasy black hair with an even greasier smile on his face. The infographic on the bottom of the news screen reads “Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va)”. He is standing behind a podium on what appears to be the steps of the Capitol building in Washington, DC.

“What we have here,” Representative Forbes explains, “is another attack on Americans by the extraterrestrially infected criminals that infest our land.” A split screen appears showing video from the bank only an hour before. In the video, along with seeing the destruction being wrought by Rant and Rave, you see Stonewall ramming through a wall in the bank near the vault as if he is heading towards the money. You also see Sheikra at the top of the bank looking as if she is tearing off chunks of the ceiling and throwing them to the terrified crowds below. “This menace MUST be stopped,” Representative Forbes continues. “The Committee on Superpowered Beings WILL pass this legislation making it illegal to use these inhuman abilities on American soil…”

Techno switches the TV screen off. Dr. Swords growls. “That man… is putting himself into a place where he doesn’t belong. Well, you guys are public now. There’s nothing we can do about that. Try to keep a low profile if you can, at least until I can do something to smooth this out.

Any questions?

The Action

First night

2006 October 17 - Tuesday

Start off investigating John Jacobs. Find out he's only a figurehead. Here about a guy named "Joe Varisco" and "Fiasco" running things behind the scenes, and soon realize that they are the same person.

You receive a tipoff from one Blake Dortch, a russian mafia type who let's you know that the first person you want to meet up with is Marvin Lynch. Lynch is the first one to contact when you want to smuggle something out of Baltimore. Fiasco is the head honcho and doesn't micromanage that sort of thing. You track down Marvin Lynch and corner him in his office. He pleads with you and promised to strike a deal with you to find Fiasco, since Lynch apparently has no love for the man.

Second night

2006 October 18 - Wednesday

You find out that Lynch was murdered after you talked to him, and word on the street is that Fiasco wants to ship out something big tonight. You believe that this is Cavalier, and stake out the warehouse from which Fiasco is supposed to ship from. There you find police officer Nate Merrit, who you had met the night before except that he introduced himself as a lowly dock worker. After a series of missteps and misunderstandings, you leave him under less-than-pleasant circumstances, although he seems to have a soft spot for Ellie Drew. Finally, you confront Fiasco and his minions, including the giant of a man Ballistic, at the waterfront. After a titanic battle, you have captured Ballistic and the alien weaponry used by Fiasco and his gang, but Fiasco himself makes a miraculous getaway into the harbor.

Epilogue

Sheikra takes the Nordian Stasis Cell back to Dr. Swords' office, flying at the absolute top of her speed. Having alerted Techno of her coming on the CommLink, he is ready for her arrival. Though he wasn't given a lot of time. Sheikra flies very fast.

"Here he is. Gotta go," Sheikra says, dropping the giant coffin-like object in the middle of the big room empty of dividing walls or furniture but full of spare electronic and mechanical parts. Then she turns and flies away.

"Wow. That-was-almost-as-fast-as-I-talk," Techno replied to the empty space Sheikra left behind.

The new team of supers soon vanquishes the rest of Fiasco and his thugs, but Fiasco himself is able to get away with the lucky break of having one of his henchman bring a speedboat to the dock just in the nick of time. The heroes are, however, able to neutralize Fiasco's heavy hitter, the large man that the other thugs referred to as "Ballistic". Instead of leaving him behind for the cops to deal with, Penumbra suggests that they take Ballistic back to the home base for questioning. You also take back the three alien weapons used by Fiasco and his two elite thugs.

The team returns to find Techno hard at work on the stasis cell presumed to hold the Nord Cavalier. He looks up at the four of you, and the unconscious Ballistic you are dragging behind. Despite the large opaque goggles covering his eyes, you can clearly see the look of surprise on his face. "Who-is-that?" he asks.

When you explain, he looks worried. "What-are-we-supposed-to-do-with-him? It's-not-like-we-have-a-jail-cell-here."

"And-it's-going-to-take-me-days-to-open-this," He continues, gesturing at the stasis cell on the floor beside him. Techno hasn't even noticed the alien weapons you have captured.

At that moment, Dr. Swords himself appears on one of the screens in the room. "Ah," he says, "You're back. Techno told me that you brought the stasis cell. And oh look!" He exclaims "You brought a friend. Well, there are no holding cells there where you are, but I can send some DXA agents over there right away to take care of him."

"You guys have done me, and the world, a great service. Believe me. When Techno gets that stasis cell open, which he told me will take a couple days, and Cavalier is freed, I'm sure you will get the recognition of the region, if not the country and the world. Old Senator-wannabe Forbes will have another popular super-team to help turn public opinion against his vaunted 'Superhuman Registration Act'."

"Oooh! What're-you-gonna-call-yourselves?" Techno asks.

(Continued in the forums)

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